Durbin, Business Leaders Highlight New Bill to Protect DREAMers
CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC) today highlighted Senator Durbin’s new legislation to ensure that the young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers remain shielded from deportation if the Trump Administration ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Like DACA, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act would provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to more than 740,000 young people who were brought to the United States as children.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by Durbin and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), are original cosponsors of the bill.
“The DACA program has given DREAMers a chance to come out of the shadows and contribute more fully to the only country they’ve ever called home. These DREAMers have demonstrated their commitment to the United States in countless ways – by opening businesses, becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers and more,” said Senator Durbin. “I urge President-elect Trump to keep DACA in place, but if he does not my bipartisan legislation will ensure that DREAMers are protected from deportation until we are able to provide a permanent fix for our broken immigration system.”
IBIC released a statement on the BRIDGE Act, which said, “We welcome the bipartisan legislative solution provided by Senators Graham and Durbin to grant temporary relief from deportations and work permits for more than 740,000 DREAMers who came to America as children. The bill provides a pathway for these young people to keep living, working and paying taxes in the United States. If passed, teachers, nurses, engineers and entrepreneurs will continue to work, create jobs, pay taxes, buy homes, and contribute to our economy and country. Without Congressional action, it’s likely these young people, who have known no other home, would be deported to a country that is unfamiliar to them. Recipients are heavily vetted – to qualify for BRIDGE, like DACA, young immigrants must pass a rigorous background check and screening. In addition to growing our tax base, they strengthen our national security. BRIDGE is economically important, morally right, politically smart and will strengthen our national security. We hope members in both parties will support this critical legislation.”
The BRIDGE Act would provide “provisional protected presence” and employment authorization to DACA-eligible individuals. A current DACA recipient would receive provisional protected status until the expiration date of his or her DACA status and could apply for provisional protected presence prior to this expiration. An individual who is not a DACA recipient but who is eligible for DACA could also apply for provisional protected presence. As with DACA, applicants would be required to pay a reasonable fee, be subject to criminal background checks, and meet a number of eligibility criteria indicating that they came to the United States as minors, grew up in this country, have pursued an education, have not committed any serious crimes, and do not pose a threat to our country.
Senator Durbin has been the leading voice in Congress in the fight to protect young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. In April 2010, he was the first member of Congress to call for the establishment of DACA. Durbin has shared the stories of more than 75 DREAMers on the Senate floor since he introduced the original DREAM Act fifteen years ago. He was also a member of the “Gang of 8” Republicans and Democrats who authored comprehensive immigration legislation that passed the Senate in 2013.
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